Saudi Arabia, Iran held talks more than once in Iraq: Iraq's president | World News - Hindustan Times
close_game
close_game

Saudi Arabia, Iran held talks more than once in Iraq: Iraq's president

Reuters |
May 05, 2021 10:17 PM IST

Salih made his remarks during an interview broadcast live online with the Beirut Institute think tank. He gave no more details.

Iraq has hosted more than one round of talks between regional foes Iran and Saudi Arabia, Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Wednesday.

Iraq's President Barham Salih(Reuters)
Iraq's President Barham Salih(Reuters)

Salih made his remarks during an interview broadcast live online with the Beirut Institute think tank. He gave no more details.

HT launches Crick-it, a one stop destination to catch Cricket, anytime, anywhere. Explore now!

Diplomats hope the opening of direct channels between Iran and Saudi Arabia will signal a calming of tensions across the Middle East after years of hostilities that have brought the region close to a full-scale conflict.

Baghdad hosted talks between officials from its two neighbours and mutual adversaries on April 9 in the only round of talks to have been previously reported.

Asked how many rounds of Saudi-Iranian talks Iraq had hosted, Salih replied: "More than once."

"It is ongoing, and it is important and it is significant, and for Iraq to be able to play that convening role between these regional actors is important," he added, although he gave no further details on the talks.

Washington and Tehran have engaged in indirect talks in Vienna that seek to revive an international pact reached in 2015 that constrained Iran's nuclear ambitions in return for sanctions relief.

Former U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out the deal in 2018 and imposed harsh sanctions on Iran and its regional allies, increasing tension as Iran-backed militias attacked U.S. forces in Iraq and a series of attacks hit oil installations and tankers in the Gulf, where Washington counts Arab states such as Saudi among its close allies.

The killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. air strike in Baghdad in January 2020 brought the region close to war. Iran responded with limited missile strikes against a U.S. base in Iraq, the first such direct attack, but took no further action.

Iraqis hope for a general regional detente that would allow their country to rebuild instead of being used as an arena for U.S., Gulf Arab and Iranian score-settling.

Iraq is trying to rein in powerful Iran-backed militias and deal with a resurgent Islamic State - the Sunni hardline Islamist group that took over a third of Iraq in 2014 and was beaten militarily in 2017 by U.S. forces, the Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters and Iran-aligned paramilitaries.

"The war against ISIS (Islamic State) and terrorism cannot be won by (only) military means," Salih said. "We have succeeded in liberating our land with the help of our friends but terrorism remains."

He added that he wished to see a solution to the Iran-U.S. rivalry that has fuelled violence in Iraq.

"The Middle East has been condemned to a cycle of conflict and instability over the last few decades... It's time to move beyond," Salih said.

Discover the complete story of India's general elections on our exclusive Elections Product! Access all the content absolutely free on the HT App. Download now!

Get Latest World News, along with Latest News from India at Hindustan Times.
SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Share this article
SHARE
Story Saved
Live Score
OPEN APP
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Sunday, April 21, 2024
Start 14 Days Free Trial Subscribe Now
Follow Us On